Last week, Telenor confirmed in a press release that it has acquired additional spectrum for its 4G LTE network across Myanmar.
The Norwegian operator is not the only one that was granted radio resources. Ooredoo Myanmar and MPT also get access to an additional 2x10Mhz according to PTD. The spectrum was settled through a direct allocation against a 80M$ fee.
Fair price when we consider that last year, Yatanarpon Teleport and Amara Communication were the winning bidders of the 2.6Ghz auction and spent respectively 107M$ and 123M$ for 20Mhz spectrum only available in two regions.
Note that the spectrum allocated to Internet Service Providers last year does not allow them to provide full-fledged mobile services but is limited to the provision of data services. Saying that, recovering such license fee seem like an immense challenge.
It seems that we are not the only ones to realize that as one of the awarded ISPs may have done a step backward and is considering withdrawing its application. If not done already.
Coming back to the 1800mhz auction, this new spectrum allocation is a great news for the end customers that should be able to enjoy faster Internet from now on.
With 1800MHz spectrum, we now are set up to provide customers with a richer internet experience with superior download speeds, smoother high-definition video streams, lag-free gaming, a stronger social media experience, and more consistent performance in peak hours, among others.
Telenor CEO Lars Erik Tellmann
The mobile operators also have an option to purchase an additional 2x10Mhz on the same frequency band. As the spectrum is limited, the rule for this additional span would be ‘first come first served’ according to PTD.
Giving a little bit of background, the three mobile operators launched 4G last year with different strategy and extend. Ooredoo was the first to launch in the country and deployed the largest number of cells. It also invested massively in marketing activities to promote its new network. Unfortunately, the performance has been suboptimal due to the lack of available spectrum.
MPT and Telenor adopted a more cautious approach. The public operator only launched 4G as a IBS (Indoor Building Service) solution in specific and popular places both in Yangon and Naypyidaw.
As for Telenor, the Norwegian operator strictly avoided Yangon and covered up to 17 cities as of February 2017.
Last week, Telenor launched 4G in Yangon, announcing that the new network will be progressively available in every township. Speeds observed in optimal condition vary from 20 to 35mbps according to customers and our own testbed. Even if the results are better than performance monitored last year on the concurrent networks, there is still room for improvement. In theory, 10Mhz LTE shall be able to deliver 75Mbps downlink in 64QAM with MIMO 2×2. May the operators refarm 3G and achieve carrier aggregation on 4G, they would be able to deliver much higher speeds as well.
Let’s give the operators some time to take the full benefits out of this new allocation and hope future will be made of high speed Internet for the people of Myanmar.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.